SGA discusses Title IX, passes five bills

Nicole Ziege

The Student Government Association heard from a guest speaker about WKU’s Title IX policy and passed five bills during its senate meeting Oct. 17.

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex and gender. Additionally, WKU’s Title IX policy was discussed. Examples of sexual discrimination include non-consensual sexual contact, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, relationship violence and several other categories, according to Melanie Evans, the coordinator for sexual assault services in the Office of Student Conduct at WKU.

Evans discussed the protocol that the Office of Student Conduct follows when receiving a Title IX incident report. She said that when made aware of a potential Title IX violation, she has four obligations, which include investigating to see “if something has occurred,” stopping “anything that is ongoing,” remedying “the effects that a person may have experienced” and preventing it from happening again.

“That is our approach to make students feel like this is a safe environment,” Evans said. “If something has occurred, then we are there to support them and assist them in making sure that this doesn’t become an educational barrier.”

Regarding relationship violence, Evans said that there has been an increase in reporting over the last academic year of relationship violence on WKU’s campus.

“Relationship violence happens among all types of relationships, and we are working to connect our students to services, whether it be incidents of physical injury, physical abuse, pushing and shoving between partners, verbal abuse, attempt to intimidate, harass, terrify a partner or former partner,” Evans said. “And this occurs in dating violence and domestic violence.”

Regarding sexual exploitation, Evans said that it is a “common problem” on college campuses.

“The most common situations that students are facing likely is in respect to sharing personal photos,” Evans said. “Those photos of a private nature rarely stay private.”

Evans said as part of WKU’s Title IX policy, “If something is done to intimidate or to cause distress with intent to embarrass, whether those photos are actually released or shared, then that is a violation of our policy of sexual exploitation.”

The senate also voted on five bills during its meeting.

Bill 15-17-F proposed allocating over $1,400 for the Physical Education Majors Club, National Association of Home Builders and Jump Rope Club.

The bill would allocate over $450 for the Physical Education Majors Club to attend the Kentucky Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance conference. It would also allocate $500 for the National Association of Home Builders to pay for building materials, tools and transportation. Lastly, Bill 15-17-F would allocate $500 to the Jump Rope Club to pay for jump ropes, a speaker and gym rentals.

The bill passed unanimously.

The second bill, Bill 16-17-F, proposed allocating $200 from the senate discretionary fund to support the Interfaith Workshop on Sustainability and Social Justice. The money will go toward breakfast, drinks, lunch, sponsoring students and a small honorarium for a local musician, according to the bill.

“I think it’s a great thing to support,” Sustainability Committee Chair and the co-author of the bill Ian Hamilton said in his speech.

Bill 16-17-F passed unanimously.

The third bill, Bill 17-17-F, proposed allocating $50 from the Senate Discretionary fund for the “promotion and implementation” of Mission: Thank You Veterans.

“Mission: Thank You Veterans is an effort to honor those who have sacrificed so much for our country without receiving much in return,” Bill 17-17-F states.

The bill was co-authored by Hamilton and Potter College Senator Garrett Edmonds.

The WKU College Republicans and WKU Young Democrats plan to partner for the event by writing messages to the veterans in chalk on the sidewalks. The $50 would be used for purchasing chalk and posters for the event, according to the bill.

Bill 17-17-F passed unanimously.

Bill 18-17-F proposed allocating $1,840 for the Student Affairs Graduate Association, American Institute for Architecture Students, Delta Sigma Theta and WKU Men’s Rugby Team.

The bill would allocate $500 to the Student Affairs Graduate Association to fund professional and personal development workshops. It would allocate $340 to the American Institute for Architecture Students to subsidize costs of attending conferences and visiting architecture farms.

The bill would allocate $500 for Delta Sigma Theta to help fund etiquette lessons for a pageant that “aims to educate black men in professionalism and community service as well as give them more self-confidence.” Lastly, Bill 18-17-F would allocate $500 to the WKU Men’s Rugby Team for new team jerseys.

Bill 18-17-F passed unanimously.

The final bill that the Senate voted on was Bill 22-17-F, which proposed allocating $250 to the Public Relations Committee for the Student Government Association Tailgate Oct. 28.

The bill would allocate $140 from the food budget to supply thirty Donato’s pizzas and would allocate $110 from the Senate Discretionary fund to buy a canopy tent and weights.

Bill 22-17-F passed unanimously.

Reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].